The NFL is the most popular sports league in America today. It has long passed baseball as America's pastime and its popularity seems to have infinite growth. The NFL is well aware of its place in American culture and those in positions of power at the NFL could be acting very short sighted when it comes to keeping football on top in the USA.
Over the past decade or two, there have been countless scandals, legal issues, and immoral acts executed by the NFL and its players. Due to these acts, many believe the NFL is in for a rude awakening in the coming years. It is no secret that there are growing concerns over the safety of the game, and many parents are reluctant to allow their children to participate in the game, and culture, of football. On top of the game creating a serious threat to participants' safety, the NFL as an organization has been caught doing some extremely shady business with its ex-players and fans.
With the safety concerns facing players in today's game, combined with the immoral and often controversial business practices in the NFL, it should come as no surprise to anyone when the groundswell of hate begins, and the NFL loses some if its Teflon coating. NFL owners and executives have had unparalleled success in the sports world over the last 25 years, and with that success a sense of entitlement and invincibility has also manifested itself. As we enter into another football season it will be interesting to see if fans begin to slowly turn away from the NFL and start giving their attention and money to a different sports organization. With hopes of highlighting reasons to break away from the cash cow that has become the NFL, today we will expose the top 15 reasons to hate the NFL and move on to another sport.
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15 Gray Area In Rules
More than any other sport, football has the hardest time explaining its rules. The simplest thing, such as what a catch is, is still not fully understood by fans and referees. The rules also vary depending on who is involved. If a quarterback is hit in the same exact way a running back is hit, there is likely going to be a different ruling on the hit. The NFL routinely apologizes to teams and players for botched calls after games are finished. The NFL could really use some clarity when it comes to interpretation of its rules.
The NFL needs to simplify its rulebook, as even the most hardcore football fans have had difficulty explaining certain rules to their friends. Common sense seems to be lost in what the NFL should enforce. The sad thing is, it doesn't look like common sense will enter the minds of the NFL brass when enforcing rules.
Many times, it is hard to see your team on television. The NFL routinely has blackouts in many markets. If the game is not sold out, the home broadcast is not available in the home team's town. This is extremely unfair to fans of the not-so-good teams because they are regularly unable to see their team play. Many bad teams are unable to sell out their games, which in turn forces fans to find a different way to see the game. That's no way to treat your fan base.
NFL ticket prices have become ridiculously expensive, and that doesn't include food, beverages, transportation and parking when going to see a game. Bringing a family of four to a game could come out to the same price as a mini vacation and fans shouldn't be punished if they can't afford to go to a game.
13 Stingy Practices
The NFL believes they have a Teflon shield. The owners and brass of the NFL have a sense of arrogance when it comes to being criticized. From the way they ignored the concussion issue, to the horrible treatment of their players, the NFL has no conscience... and they don't care. Fans' and players' concerns are often brought to the NFL, but they simply ignore them because the money continues to pour in. With that money that they get, the NFL still thinks that it is okay to have the public pay for over 65% of the costs of new stadiums.
The average cost of an NFL stadium is about $1.2 billion, which means that around $750 million is passed onto taxpayers. Given that the NFL made over $7 billion in profit sharing last year, and NFL teams only need a new stadium once every 30 years, it seems like the league could kick in a few extra dollars to make it easier for residents who may not want a major sports team.
12 Deflategate And Other Controversies
Between deflategate, bountygate, spygate, and all the others, the NFL seems to have some sort of controversy every season. Last season, the playoffs were incredibly entertaining, yet for some reason, the conversation stayed focused on the deflating of footballs. The NFL has a flawed judicial system, which enables commissioner Roger Goodell to play the role of judge, jury, and executioner. That is a flawed system that creates constant controversy.
What's worse is that the NFL seems to use their power on the wrong causes. Roger Goodell's initial reaction to the Ray Rice incident was to suspend him for two games. Meanwhile, over the issue of deflating footballs, Brady has been handed a four game suspension by the NFL. The league just seems out of touch on when to come down hard on their players and when to take it easy.
11 Washington Redskins Name
Daniel Snyder is the owner of the Washington Redskins. He has refused to budge on changing the racist name of his franchise. There has been petition after petition and protest after protest trying to persuade the NFL to force a name change, yet the NFL has not taken a single action. If the NFL really cared about social issues, as they claim to, they would have changed the Redskins name a long time ago.
Again this comes down to the issue of money pouring in. Snyder's team is one of the most valuable franchises in the NFL, only behind the Cowboys and the Patriots. Financially there is no incentive for Snyder and/or the NFL to institute a name change and that's really all they care about. It's utterly ridiculous that a racial slur could still be the name of one of the NFL's most valuable franchises.
10 Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great, noble, progressive idea; we can all agree on that. The NFL sells millions of dollars in pink jerseys, T-Shirts, towels, shoes, and all other equipment. When you buy any of these items, the NFL advertises that a percentage of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. How much do you think they donate? Maybe 90%? 75%? At least 50% right? All wrong, try 10%! 10%!!! The greedy NFL makes millions on the backs of breast cancer while only giving 10% to the cause. Shame on you, NFL.
The next time October rolls around and you're thinking of making a donation to a good cause, it may be best to go straight to the source and donate the money to breast cancer victims or foundations. You don't need the NFL trying to squeeze more money out of you claiming it will go to a good cause.
9 Cost Of Attending A Game
In 2014, the average NFL ticket cost $85. To take a family of 4 to an NFL game, it will cost you $340, and that is just to walk into the stadium. When you add parking, food and a souvenir or two, you are approaching $500 to simply attend a football game. For this reason, fans are often unable to attend games, which in turn, contributes to the blackout issue mentioned earlier. It is simply absurd to expect fans to fork up close to $500 to attend a three-hour sporting event.
Even for teams that are subpar the prices remain high and they only go higher and higher every year. Depending on what market you live in, many of your team's biggest fans may not be able to attend games. There's no debating that the relationship between a fan and the NFL is a dominant one, where the NFL seems to have an unhealthy hold over their fans.
8 Violent Culture
The NFL cultivates an aggressive, violent culture. If you have ever met a football coach, you certainly noticed their militant attitude. The NFL caught the New Orleans Saints participating in what is now referred to as "bounty gate," in which players were paid bonuses if they were able to injure opposing players. This is not the first time this has happened either. Hall of Famer Reggie White once said he gave away an entire game check to teammates who put "big hits" on other players. This is one of the main reasons parents are reluctant to allow their children to play football.
With more and more awareness surrounding concussions and the long term effects football related injuries can have on individuals it's sickening to think this was going on. Even someone who won a Super Bowl, and was a local hero has said that he regrets playing football. “If I could go back, I wouldn’t,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But, right now, I could still be playing baseball.”
7 Non-Guaranteed Contracts
The NFL players' union has failed its players. All major sports in America have some sort of guaranteed contracts, all except the most violent sport of them all: football. Players have no insurance to protect them from injury or decline in production. If a player gets seriously injured during a game to the point of missing time, the team is well within their rights to cut the player and owe them nothing in regards to the remainder of the contract. This is a disgrace by the NFL, as well as the players' union, which has not fought hard enough to get their players proper rights.
Players eventually are able to negotiate their way into some guaranteed money in their contract and you can't blame them for doing so. The average career in the NFL is only three years and for every superstar player making millions in guaranteed money, there are a dozen players going year by year and their careers and livelihoods could end at any time.
6 Buried Reports On Significant Injuries
When the reports of CTE being related to concussions were released, the NFL did all it could to bury those reports, including lawsuits and outright lies. The NFL made several statements denouncing the potential of NFL-related activity causing CTE. As recently as this off-season, some execs for the NFL have come out and reiterated their stance on CTE. The movie starring Will Smith, Concussion does a great job highlighting the NFL's role in discrediting Dr. Bennet Omalu, who is the doctor credited with discovering CTE and its causes.
The NFL went to drastic lengths to try to dismiss Dr. Omalu's work, even going so far as to say he wasn't practicing medicine, but voodoo. The NFL has since tried to wash their hands of this incident. They have instituted stiffer rules regarding concussion protocols, but they have yet to acknowledge that football has a strong link to CTE.
5 Mistreatment Of Retirees
The NFL spent millions of dollars fighting against its retired players in court over compensation for the concussions the retirees are facing in later life. Ultimately, the NFL agreed to pay the 18,000 ex-players a total of $765 million. In exchange, the NFL no longer has to release the knowledge they had about concussions and potential effects of concussions during the playing time of those ex-players. It is clear the NFL was well aware of the harm their players were facing, yet did nothing, because they were pulling in unimaginable amounts of money off the backs of these players.
Some players opted out of the settlement and are continuing to sue the NFL. It is unknown whether the NFL will ever reveal the entire truth regarding the links between playing football and the long term injuries it can cause.
4 Paid Patriotism
Most teams in the NFL participate in veteran tributes throughout the year. It is a classy move and it is something that everyone should support. The issue came into play when it was revealed in 2015 that the NFL had been paid over $10 million by the defense department to put on these tributes. Much like the breast cancer awareness month, the NFL only cares about people when they can line their pockets. The worst part of this 'Paid Patriotism' is that the money received by the NFL came from taxpayers, so not only do taxpayers build the stadiums and pay exorbitant amounts of money to attend games, they also now pay the NFL to have a veteran tribute before the game.
Can the NFL not do one thing out of the goodness of their hearts? It doesn't seem that way. There seems to be no line they won't cross to make a buck.
The decline of NFL popularity is inevitable, and the number one reason for it will be player safety. There really is not much the NFL can do to reduce the risk of its players being inflicted with CTE later in life, short of changing the rules of the game to two-hand touch. The nature of football is violent, there is no way around that. Unfortunately for the NFL many children are no longer allowed to participate in the game, and with that surely comes a decline in popularity.
While fan interest isn't going to go away anytime soon, the problem will be when the kids of America start turning to other sports. Many ex-NFLers themselves have said they would never let their kids play football. Sports like basketball and soccer continue to get more popular and more participation as there are far fewer risks involved in playing those sports.
2 Lack Of African-American Coaches
To begin the 2016 season, the NFL has a total of 32 teams. Of those 32 teams, only four have an African-American coach. In 2003, the NFL enacted the "Rooney Rule," which is a rule that mandates teams to interview minority candidates when hiring new front office members and coaches. This sounds like a great rule,but what has happened is not so great. Teams now do the token interview with a minority, then simply hire the white candidate they want.
The unintentional consequence of this rule has virtually ruined some African-American coaches' careers. An African-American coach will be interviewed by three different teams during the offseason and not get any of the jobs, in turn making him seem unfit to be a coach in the NFL. There needs to be some sort of adjustment to the Rooney Rule, because is clearly is not effective in its current format. This couldn't have been what they had in mind when instituting this rule.
1 Roger Goodell
The current commissioner of the NFL is more like a dictator to the players and a slave to the owners. Goodell is disliked by seemingly every single player in the league. His take on all things NFL boil down to one thing: MONEY. The current system in place in the NFL allows Goodell to rule the league with an iron fist. The system has no checks and balances, and Goodell is simply too powerful for things to change. Goodell has led the charge against player safety, he has led the charge against the scientists who are discovering the effects of CTE, he has led the charge for profit over morals, (ie. breast cancer awareness months and paid patriotism) and he has done nothing to stop the mistreatment of players, as well as done nothing to curb the domestic violence issues in the NFL.
The best thing for the NFL to do would be to fire Roger Goodell, but that would have to be a decision made by the NFL owners, and since they are making money hand over fist, the idea of firing Goodell makes no sense to them.
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